Today in the Seattle Times, Neal Kirby, the principal of Edison Elementary in Centralia, says urban teachers should not receive more pay than rural teachers. He is reacting to a recent proposal from the Compensation Technical Working Group convened by the legislature which calls for increasing funds to schools by $2 billion a year to increase pay for teachers.
Today the Seattle Times reports a coalition of charter public school proponents filed an initiative to ask voters to approve 40 charter schools. Initiative sponsors need to gather 250,000 signatures by July 6 to put the measure on the November ballot. That is not much time.
Washington is one of only 9 states that forbid charter public schools.
Melissa Westbrook, a Seattle school blogger, is spreading disinformation about Washington state’s education reform environment. In a May 3rd article on a Washington Post blog with a bias against charter public schools, Ms. Westbrook pronounced that Washington State has deliberately said “no” to charter public schools and other reforms. Ms.
Yesterday, US News and World Report released their national rankings of 22,000 public high schools to identify the best high schools in the nation. Their rankings are based on student performance on state exit exams and on exams measuring college-level work (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams).
Friday night, delegates at the Washington State PTA Convention voted to pass a Resolution to support non-profit charter public schools. Opponents introduced an amendment to defeat it, but that amendment was soundly rejected, 170 to 92. Support for charter public schools is now a permanent statement of WSPTA policy.
Last fall, the PTA Legislative Assembly took the first step in this process by supporting legislation to lift the ban on charter public schools in the 2012 Legislative Session.
Susan Goding, school board director with the Highline School District, has a great editorial in the Seattle Times today. She correctly points out that funding for education is based on staffing buildings, not upon funding student learning.
Last night, at University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy, I listened to Professor Paul Hill describe his new book, Strife and Progress: Transforming Public Education in Big Cities, to be published this fall.
Tom Loveless warns in Education Week that past experience with standards and curricula shows buying new curricula aligned with the Common Core standards will have little or no effect on student achievement. Tom Loveless is a former teacher and now senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Chester Finn has written a great article describing how school principals lack the authority they need to improve their schools. Washington Policy Center and Scott Oki, in his book Outrageous Learning, recommend ways to put the principal back in charge. Here is Mr. Finn's article.
Yesterday, I listened to a presentation by Rick Ogston, CEO of Carpe Diem Schools, sponsored by the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington.
Carpe Diem Collegiate High School and Middle School (CDCHM) is an innovative charter public school of 300 students in grades 6 through 12 in Yuma, Arizona. Under the freedom allowed by Arizona's charter school law, Mr. Ogston developed this model to motivate and meet students where they are: in the digital age.
Seattle School Board member Sherry Carr today in Crosscut describes the shocking level of turnover at the top of her organization (“Seattle needs stable school leadership”). She succinctly describes the endemic leadership problem she and the Board have created in District management:
On Friday, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives came together, by a vote of 69 to 26, to pass HB 2824, a bill to repeal Initiative 728. More than 70% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans voted for the bill. The unfunded Initiative was enacted by voters in 2000 to spend additional money on reduced class sizes, after-school programs, professional development for teachers, pre-school programs, and the hiring of more school district employees.
Today in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, Mary Grabar, a professor of English at Emory University, writes a great piece describing how the Common Core standards will turn the study of English into a grinding chore for students and turn English teachers into the Dickensian character "Mr. Gradgrinds."
I noticed an interesting Washington Post article this week. It reports that Democratic mayors in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Newark and Boston are challenging teachers unions. It is unusual for elected leaders in major cities to identify local unions as one reason reforms cannot be achieved. According to the story, these mayors: